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The Rutland Arms + Castle Inn Bakewell Derbyshire

Last of the Summer Viognier

Jane Austen visited Derbyshire prior to the publication of Pride and Prejudice, and likely stayed at The Rutland Arms in Bakewell. She is said to have revised the final chapters of her novel with fresh material from her holiday including a visit to nearby Chatsworth. A tall commanding presence dominating the landscaped roundabout at the heart of Bakewell, The Rutland Arms was built at the turn of four centuries ago. The author, if correctly reported, would have been staying in a new hotel. It’s a serious looking building of warehouse-like proportions: three tall storeys tower up to high pitched parapet-free hipped roofs. The maximalist interior decoration – school of Martin Brudnizki – is very jolly with a picture hang in the dining room to rival any art gallery. More is more; less is a chore.

Another sandstone hostelry in the pretty town is Castle Inn. On a more modest two storey scale, it is close to the picturesque bridge arching over the River Wye. The adjoining wing of outbuildings has been converted to additional guest accommodation. Overlooking the town on a hill – this is after all the Peak District – is All Saints Parish Church. Dating from the 12th century, the Norman style building was restored between 1879 and 1882 by George Gilbert Scott Junior. Cute cottages line the laneways between these landmarks. Bank House, Bank Mews, Coulsden Cottage, The Cottage, Haven Cottage, The Old Forge, Spire Cottage, Splash Cottage, 1820 Cottage.

On the same hill as All Saints Parish Church is The Gospel Hall. The local history is recorded as, “The Gospel Hall was originally The Oddfellows Hall. It was built in 1872 by the friendly society The Loyal Devonshire Lodge of Oddfellows as a meeting room for its members. The Primitive Methodists rented the building for worship from 1879 until about 1892 when they built a new church in Water Street. Around 1800 some Christians in Bakewell also began meeting on New Testament lines in the home of a Mr Sellars in The Avenue, Bakewell. By 1895 they were holding their Sunday Services in The Oddfellows Hall. In 1949 the Christians bought the building and renamed it The Gospel Hall. Between 1982 and 1987 the Hall was progressively altered and extended by converting the two basement garages, formerly stables, into an additional meeting room.”

The moist morning mist lifts to reveal an unclouded blue sky.

Architecture Country Houses People

Haddon House Farm + Estate Bakewell Derbyshire

To The Manners Born

In the low lying land on the periphery of Bakewell, the sweetest town in England, encircled by the hills of the Peak District, lies Haddon House Farm. The farmstead, paddocks and woodland totalling just over five hectares and forming part of the Haddon Hall Estate are currently available to lease. At the core of this mini-estate within an estate, up a short avenue, is the rambling Haddon House. Now receiving some tender loving care, it was previously divided into apartments: four on the ground floor, five on the first floor, and two on the attic floor.

The Grade II Listed house dates from a circa 1840 rebuilding around an 18th century core, with later 19th century additions and alterations. It is faced with deeply coursed sandstone and ashlar dressings. Earlier work is evidenced in places by limestone and roughcast. The roofs are of stone slate. The ensemble is in an attractive Tudor Revival style with an adjoining open courtyard of plainer buildings to the rear.

Derbyshire is not short of country houses. It is after all Chatsworth country. The mostly medieval Haddon Hall, further downstream along the River Wye from Haddon House Farm, is the home of the Manners family.


Monsal Head + Monsal Dale Peak District Derbyshire

The White Peak

Monsal Head is the viewing point to take in the River Wye along the floor of Monsal Dale. Headstone Viaduct was opened in 1863, forming the perfect combination of engineering and nature.